She collapsed with a flag in her hand, a flag white as snow. (2)

Pray for Paris. Pray for Brussels.

Pray for Pakistan, for Nigeria, for Turkey, for Tunisia, for Syria, for Iraq, for the Ivory Coast, for Yemen, for Somalia, for Afghanistan, for everyone, for everybody. If you believe praying is the way to go, then please, pray for all of us. Pray for hope, pray for humankind, pray for compassion.

I have talked about it extensively. Written about it here, and other places. I have nothing new to say, nothing that hasn’t been said a million times before, anyway, but I’ll write regardless, with that writer’s arrogance that makes me believe that my words deserve to be heard.

But there are no words. There are no words to describe my confusion, this morning, when the building I was supposed to be in was on lockdown. No words to describe that feeling when you see the police, the ambulances, all going in the same direction, and you hear the sirens, and you realize that they’re not actually going away, that they’re coming towards you, that they’re all stopping nearby. No words to describe the moment you understand that it’s all happening right there.

I was getting messages from all over the place. People were worried because I was in the European Quarter, and I thought they were being silly. People were telling me to take a cab home, and it seemed like the most absurd idea, because I didn’t have money for that shit. People were texting me, asking me if I was ok, if I was in the subway; and I tried to reassure them, all the while realizing that I could have been in the subway, that I would have been in the subway, but that my laziness had made me take a bus instead. All the while realizing that it could have been me. But at that moment, I didn’t care, because it had suddenly hit me that a lot of my friends were in the subway too, and that it could be them.

There are no words.

No words to tell you how sick I felt, no words to describe how much hatred I felt, no words to describe how lost I felt.

As it turns out, my friends were all safe. Also really nearby, but safe. It could have been me, it could have been them, but it wasn’t. It was them, and them, and them, and them, and them, and them, and them, and them. It was all of them. And for some people, they could be it, every single day. For some of them, the confusion is part of their daily life. For some of them, the worriedness and the sickness are just background feelings that they experience every time they open their eyes.

Brussels is dirty, Brussels is loud, Brussels is small. But Brussels is beautiful, Brussels is open-minded, Brussels is multicultural, welcoming, accepting. Brussels is the only place where I’ve ever felt home. So I cried, because my home was attacked. I cried, because they were probably laughing, after they had bombed it. I cried, because other people’s homes have been bombarded so often that they’re not even news worthy anymore. I cried for Brussels, I cried for the world, I cried for humanity.

So, if you’re a believer, then pray. Pray to God, to Jesus, to Allah, to Yahweh, to Zeus/Jupiter, to whoever and whatever you believe in. Pray for the lost souls who believe that the God of a religion that literally means ‘peace’ wants them to take other people’s lives.

Don’t give into the hatred. Don’t give into the fear. Because fear is what they want, and hatred is what they stand for.

And please, please, don’t just pray for Brussels. Pray for the world. Because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


Make A Wish


PS: As a non believer, I don’t believe ‘praying’ is the way to go. Praying is not nearly enough. But praying is, to me, a metaphor for whatever it is you think is helpful; be it donating blood, marching to show support, going to the Atomium at 10 PM while you’re freezing to (fail to) light some candles with a Belgian flag and a crappy camera,… Praying is fighting relentlessly to eradicate injustice anywhere, and everywhere.


One Comment Add yours

  1. -David- says:

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thy friend's
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.


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